Game time is just a minute away according to the scoreboard here at Moanalua High School.
What to expect between OIA champ Leilehua and Kaiser? The Lady Cougars of Kaiser have nothing to lose but may be fatigued after a tough 44-41 win over KS-Maui yesterday. Key is Rose Shimaoka. After playing all 32 minutes does she have more in the gas tank?
Will Leilehua play loose and strong or tight and hesitant? Teams with opening-day byes have shown a history of the latter.
As expected (kinda), Kaiser looks fatigued and sluggish. Shimaoka is strugging and I can’t really blame her. Who plays 32 minutes and has a strong game the next day? Steals galore for the Lady Mules, who lead 12-2 at the TV time out with 2:17 left.
Great save on a long rebound heading out of bounds by Kaiser center Brooke Ho. Skylar Kimura feeds Shimaoka for the 15-foot J and Kaiser is within 12-5 after one.
Mules sloppy with the ball and Kaiser getting deflections in transition. Kylee Mahiko splashes a wing 3 after a steal and dish by Kimura. It’s 14-8 and Mules Coach Elroy Dumlao calls time with 5:34 left.
TV time out with 3:40 left and Leilehua’s Tianna Hanohano will shoot two foul shots. Kaiser Coach Simon Bitanga has gone deep this time; five subs have already seen action and they’re all playing above par.
Kaiser chips away. Maalaea Kaneaiakala hits a 3 and scores on a layup to help the Cougars cut the lead to 17-17, and then Tahani Kahawai-Robertson hits a 10-foot baseline J on a feed from Shimaoka to tie it at 17.
Leilehua freshman guard Kaylen Kamelamela then hustles for an offensive board off a miss by Tywanna Abbott and scores on the putback with 5.4 seconds left in the half. She misses the and-1 foul shot, but the Mules lead 19-17 at the break.
The score was locked at 19 for a few minutes before Abbott hit the second of two foul shots. TV time out with 3:12 left and the Mules lead 20-19.
The Cougars close the quarter with a 7-0 run. The slow pace preferred by the Mules worked in Kaiser’s favor. Shimaoka and her team look fresh now. Kimura’s 3 gives Kaiser a 22-20 lead, and after a FT by Ho, Shimaoka drains a corner 3 off a pass from Ho with 5 seconds left 26-20 lead.
TV time out, 3:00, Kaiser leads 29-23. Their spread offense began with the start of this quarter and they turned the ball over three times off the bat, but they’ve executed better. Sort of. Mules just struggling to get Hanohano involved. That stint in the second quarter when they had her stand in the backcourt while a 12-2 lead dissipated… yikes.
Turnovers in this spread/delay offense in the quarter for Kaiser: seven. And Shimaoka fouled after a turnover by Ho, and that’s Shiamoka’s fourth.
Turnover by Leilehua and Kimura is fouled. She hits the first, misses the second. Kaiser up 30-27 with 51.8 seconds left when Leilehua calls time out. Similar scenario to the OIA title game in regulation.
They go to their sharpshooter, Shaylee Todani, on a set inbounds play but she misses the straightaway 3. Ball off Kaiser, time out Leilehua with 44 seconds left.